Director of LA’s In-plant Passes Away
Staff at the City of Los Angeles’ Publishing Services operation were shocked to learn of the sudden death on May 7 of their director, Michael Leighton. In charge of the 47-employee in-plant for the past 12 years, he suffered a heart attack in his home. He was only 52.
“He was an innovative, inspiring, superb leader and a dedicated City of Los Angeles employee,” eulogized Prepress Supervisor and friend Richard Malvino. “Mike was 10 years my junior but always I looked up to him for guidance and leadership. There was no one in this city who had a greater impact on me than Michael Leighton.”
Mr. Leighton and his in-plant were the subject of IPG’s September 2007 cover story, which profiled the in-plant on its 100th anniversary. The son of a linotype operator for the LA Times, he had more than 35 years of graphic arts experience.
“I learned linotype when I was 12,” he told IPG in 2007.
Though he previously served as chief of reprographics for the County of Orange and reprographics specialist for the City of Beverly Hills, Mr. Leighton’s most interesting job may have been his time serving as the ship’s printer aboard various cruise ships for Princess Cruises.
He arrived at Publishing Services for the City of Los Angeles in 1998 and immediately went to work improving the shop’s turnaround time. Mr. Leighton quickly saw the need for better client communication, so he brought in three customer service specialists.
In 1999 he orchestrated a centralized copier program that consolidated all of the city’s 1,600+ copiers under the in-plant’s administration, increased the in-plant’s volume, reduced the cost per copy and saved the city close to $1 million a year.
“Michael brought state-of-the-art technology to our in-plant,” Malvino praised, citing four new presses, Agfa CTP, digital proofing and assorted bindery equipment. In 2003 he brought Web-to-print services to the in-plant, allowing customers to order through the Internet. The following year he began consolidating the print facilities of various city departments, including Planning, Fire, Recreation and Parks, and Airport Security Police.
Related story: Remembering the Past, Preparing for the Future
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.